Researchers at Intel Corp., Santa Clara, CA, have reportedly built the world’s smallest SRAM memory cell, measuring only one square micron.
These cells were built as part of fully functional SRAM devices manufactured using Intel’s next-generation 90nm process technology. Intel touted the achievement as a milestone toward implementing the new process for production in 2003.
“Intel’s one square micron SRAM cell has established a new density benchmark for silicon technology,” said Sunlin Chou, senior VP and GM of Intel’s technology and manufacturing group. “This result gives us an early lead on 90nm process technology for microprocessors and other products.”
With the 90nm process technology, Intel is on pace to extend its record of introducing a new process generation every two years. The company will build many of its products on this process, including processors, chipsets and communications products. Intel plans to use the 90nm technology exclusively on 300mm wafers.
Intel researchers built 52-megabit chips (capable of storing 52 million individual bits of information), each containing 330 million transistors on a chip only 109 square millimeters in size — smaller than a dime. These are the highest-capacity SRAM chips ever reported, according to Intel.
These semiconductor devices were manufactured at Intel’s 300mm development fab (D1C) in Hillsboro, OR, using a combination of advanced 193nm and 248nm lithography tools.
SRAM chips are commonly used as test vehicles to develop next-generation logic manufacturing processes. The small memory cell size is significant because it will enable Intel to cost-effectively increase microprocessor performance by adding more on-die cache memory and increasing overall logic density. The working SRAM chips also demonstrate successful implementation of all of the 90nm process features required for microprocessors, including high- performance transistors and interconnects.